Friday, 13 March 2009

Wood For the Trees?

UK scientists at the Climate Science meeting in Copenhagen have worryingly suggested that. even if the world achieves the most optimistic forecasts for limiting deforestation and global temperature rise, large sections of the 'flagship' Amazon rain forest (with its enormous range of associated species) will die (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/mar/11/amazon-global-warming-trees). They estimate that, even with a modest 2 degrees Centigrade rise in global temperature (this is the current aspiration with a calculated likelihood of success of 50:50), will produce a 20-40% loss of forest and its conversion to savanna. This will convert, they say, the 'lungs of the globe' (a major carbon sink that slurps up carbon dioxide) to a substantial emitter of the green house gas. Dead trees tend to liberate carbon. They believe that this will result in an exacerbation of the problem of 'global warming', producing many changes in other parts of the world. I still don't see any popular enthusiasm for the kind of changes in human activities needed to prevent such changes (another prediction is that, even if the temperature increase is limited to 2 degrees, there is a 1 in 3 chance that it will remain at that level for 100 years irrespective of what other actions are taken).

2 comments:

Robert the Brews said...

hmm, looks like only Ice cream can save the Amazon rainforest now!

Paul Brain said...

It would require quite a lot!

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